Cader Idris

Snowdonia speaks of winter white,
“Eryri”— the native Welsh recite;
mountain areas of some delight.

In winter—“Cold is the snow on Snowdon’s brow. ..”
Eryri covered in a white garment now,
where millions of snowflakes will endow.

At first, striations reveal gradually,
then are covered by a white totality,
blindingly bright and settling silently.

Once there were eagles here
circling in the atmosphere.
When did they disappear?

Now metallic birds of prey
destroy the calm serenity
of a quiet Welsh valley.

These manmade birds are there
polluting the clean mountain air
when engine vapour trails appear.

In Spring one thing which is certain
is rainfall in a continuous curtain
which saturates and soaks the mountain.

The lower green mantle on a Summer day
can persuade hikers to continue their way,
then a sudden mist surround means a delay.

Cader Idris is a popular place for recreation
but not the tallest mount in the Welsh nation.
It has interesting features of glaciation.

This one mountain of acclaim
was called Cader Idris by name.
The Chair of Idris, of local fame.

There are actually three peaks here,
The Big Heap, Saddle and Head of the Chair.
Igneous rock from an Ordovician era.

Glaciers had scoured their way through
carving out cwms for lakes of blue,
leaving scree, moraines, rock faces too.

At the crest where there is a giant’s pillow
are arctic conditions for a dwarf willow
and the starry saxifrage just below.

In damp areas that are also shady
grows Meconopsis cambrica – Welsh poppy.
It likes a habitat that is also rocky.

A delicate bloom in a tough bower,
it is also the county flower,
bright yellow petals on its tower.

Below, a warp and weft to please,
mosses and ferns, grasses and trees
and a strong wind or a soft breeze.

In the seasons, a colour change–
in this magical mountain range,
are black green grey blue and orange.

Idris Gawr, a giant among men
was a prince in his diadem,
and also known for his wisdom.

He lived in the middle of the sixth century.
Was the name – Gawr – meant to be
a giant in stature, or ability?

Astronomy an occupation
with a stellar observation
of the Draco constellation.

Legend says this group of stars is a dragon;
now that is something to build upon,
an idea and symbol that has not gone.

And, says the ancient story,
the dragon guarded the apple tree,
to protect golden apples continuously.

Ptolemy said British princes had pride
about being a Bard, inspired inside.
It did not, with their position, collide.

“Ye Bards whom sacred raptures fire,
to chant your heroes to your country’s lyre.”
Lucan said their people to inspire.

Observing the starry skies at night
can fill a poet with delight
and bring forth words with insight.

There are fragments within the poetry
of ancient tales of the Cymry
that were passed down orally.

Those Bards, Druids, and Ovates
were once all initiates
having to learn those states.

What of the legends and folktales
from this mystical part of Wales,
at the summit and down to the dales?

Cader Idris was a sacred mountain.
Was it a place for initiation,
for supernatural contemplation?

There were several local legends all right
of people who slept at the summit all night,
and some had seemed to die of fright.

There were three things that could happen;
as a gifted poet you could awaken,
or you could die, or be a madman.

On the giant’s pillow up there
you could die of exposure
caused by the body’s hypothermia.

That night could allow incubatory sleep
at a level which is not too deep,
where dreams are recalled , to keep.

To ensure that special dreams are not lost,
the significance comes at quite a cost,
the mind stimulated to exhaust.

When initiations used such an experience
the mind could be in a state of unbalance
and madness might be a consequence.

Insight, from the mind’s revelations.
Madness, due to uncontrolled situations.
Death, from severe initiations.

Folk tales also told of the Hounds of Hell.
Cwn Annwn howling to expel.
Ferocious beasts, so they tell.

This pack of Arawn’s Hounds
made terrifying sounds
as they ran with leaps and bounds.

When were they most likely to run?
When the Otherworld portals open,
at the eves of Samhain and Beltane.

A strange noise, a shout or yell
at an increased decibel
explained as being chased to Hell?

Once, Celtic Ordovices tribes were there
known for fighting with a hammer
and said to stretch far back to Troia.

A time when wisdom, knowledge and poetry,
stories, legends, history and prophecy,
were all passed down by tradition tribally.

But not the secretive Druid sect.
Their avoidance of writing was neglect,
no inclusiveness, but demand of respect.

The flame has died and gone away
leaving burned embers cold and grey
which may awake at a future day.

Deep down there is still a glow
where Welsh passion still burns, you know,
that might ignite for another show.